Bethesda Minor Left Unattended By Airline Staff | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Bethesda Minor Left Unattended By Airline Staff

12-year-old found her own way to connecting flight

Play associated audio
 
Parents are questioning United Airlines' policy of outsourcing unaccompanied minor escort services after their children were left alone at airports this summer.
Dan Kunitz: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dankunitz/1074726584/
  Parents are questioning United Airlines' policy of outsourcing unaccompanied minor escort services after their children were left alone at airports this summer.

United Airlines is coming under fire from some parents and travel advocates for outsourcing a program that escorts minors flying alone from one flight to another. On at least two occasions recently, young girls have been left alone at busy airports because the escort failed to show up. 

John Galbreath of Bethesda paid United Airlines a $99 fee so his 12-year-old daughter, Charlotte, who was flying alone from Wyoming, would be escorted to her connecting flight at Chicago's O'Hare airport. Charlotte arrived successfully at Reagan National Airport Sunday, although her father was more than a little upset. 

"Ninety-nine [dollars] for peace of mind, which I didn't get," Galbreath said. "They outsource it to a third party, the meeting of the passenger."

No one met her at the gate in Chicago, Charlotte said. "I just kind of looked at the screen and went where I was supposed to," she said. 

This past June, Phoebe Klebahn, a 10-year-old girl flying alone on United Airlines from San Francisco to her summer camp in Michigan, was left to wander for two hours because her escort didn't show up at the gate. Her parents, Anne and Perry Klebahn, got a frantic call from camp staff to say their daughter wasn't on the flight. 

When they called United's customer service, they were directed to a call center in India and kept on hold for 40 minutes as they waited, terrified, to hear their daughter's fate, the girl's parents wrote in an angry letter sent to United.

Phoebe was found unharmed. Meanwhile, Galbreath and United confirm he’ll get his $99 back.

NPR

'Panic In A Suitcase' Puts A Fresh Spin On A Coming-To-America Story

Yelena Akhtiorskaya's debut novel is about a family that emigrates from Odessa to the Russian enclave of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, N.Y. It's a funny tale full of insider knowledge and offbeat words.
NPR

With Help From America's Test Kitchen, Why Buy When You Can DIY?

Morning Edition host Renee Montagne talks to America's Test Kitchen's Chris Kimball about foods that are easier than you'd guess to make at home. Fresh Nutella or kale chips, anyone?
NPR

Montana Sen. Walsh Says PTSD May Have Played A Role In His Plagiarism

Sen. John Walsh lifted at least a quarter of his United States Army War College master's thesis, according to a report in The New York Times. Walsh was appointed to the Senate in February.
NPR

U.S. Database Glitch Delays Passport, Visa Processing

The problem in the U.S. State Department system could cause problems for millions of people worldwide who are awaiting travel documents.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.